Thanksgiving reunion for family and treasured dirt bike after chase, arrest of theft suspect

By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
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Victimized by a motorcycle theft, a Weimar family is now thankful for successful efforts by the Placer County Sheriff’s Office to get it back and arrest a suspect. Twenty-two-year residents of the Eden Valley area, near Colfax, the Thompsons moved from Southern California to Placer County to get away from the urban way of life and accompanying higher crime rate. Gary Thompson, a water treatment plant manager, said that up until last month, the family had felt secure and safe – with no crime problems in their rural neighborhood. But then they discovered a motorcycle gone from outside their house. And it wasn’t just any motorcycle. It had been used for years by family members, most recently by daughter, Samantha. The family put up posters with a photo of the missing dirt bike along Placer Hills Road and also learned around the same time that a neighbor’s Subaru had been reported stolen. Thompson said much of their prior sense of security was restored this past week when Deputy Greg McKenzie reported a 22-year-old man was in custody and their motorcycle was safe and sound after a chase. “We were told it was quite the ordeal to chase down and arrest him,” Gary Thompson said. “He initially was able to escape pursuit on our motorcycle and ditched it somewhere in Meadow Vista.” But deputies were able to pick up the trail when the suspect and another man drove by them in a car and failed to stop. “When he reached the Bear River, he tried to escape on foot but deputies were able to tackle him to the ground and finally make their arrest,” Thompson said. Thompson said his and neighboring families were grateful and relieved Tuesday to learn of an arrest in the case. “We want to thank the Placer County Sheriff’s Office for bringing a sense of safety and peace of mind back to our neighborhood,” he said. “They stepped it up and we’re so relieved. It puts everyone at ease before the holidays.” Samantha Thompson said the thief had tried to change the appearance of the motorcycle but it was still visibly the same bike she had grown up on and learned to ride with. “It’s not worth much but we’re not done with it,” she said. “It has a lot of memories.”